Campus Kitchens to campus:
When Michael Erwin, senior in biomedical sciences, broke into Jordan-Hare Stadium during the snowfall of 2018, he didn’t realize his punishment would lead him to his future wife.
“I had the great idea of going inside Jordan-Hare Stadium because I wanted to see what it looked like covered in snow,” Erwin said. After 45 minutes of playing in the stadium snow, the Auburn Police Department caught Erwin and his friend and issued the duo a citation for 12 hours of community service.
Erwin decided to serve his hours with Campus Kitchens. During his last hour of service, his shift leader was Arielle Fay, senior in wildlife ecology and management.
“During that shift we hit it off, and I wooed her,” he said.
Fay found Erwin’s contact information from their volunteer website and texted Erwin, asking if he had left a black jacket.
“I thought I was being sly,” Fay said. “There’s actually no black jacket ...”
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“... And then of course I asked her out, and two years later I asked her to marry me on Oct. 25, 2019, in the Campus Kitchen,” Erwin said.
Erwin invited friends and family into town and popped the question to Fay in the Campus Kitchen, which he decorated with 2,000 rose petals and 500 candles. He now serves as the president of Campus Kitchens, and Fay is the vice president of special programs.
“I think the big thing that makes us unique is how supportive we are of each other’s goals and how we’re both willing to sacrifice just to make sure the other one is happy,” he said.
Morgan Kull, senior in political science, said she grew up a block away from her boyfriend.
She said they went to the same high school, and he started having a crush on her during sophomore year, but she had a crush on him since seventh grade.
“He was the cute, smart boy that did track and was really good at it,” Kull said.
Their junior year, Kull said they were part of the same friend group, and then they went to prom together senior year.
It wasn’t until after prom that they started dating. Since then, they have been long distance for most of their relationship.
“That’s where we both knew each other, and he went to school in Wisconsin, and I went to school all the way down in Alabama,” Kull said.
Her boyfriend, Jake Schweizer, is a junior in biomedical engineering at Marquette University.
She said they considered going to the same school, but they had different paths.
“Since I went for volleyball, it was kind of a different route,” she said. “I didn’t really want to stay in the Midwest, so I was only considering a school in New York, and then Auburn, and I ended up at Auburn because it’s great.”
Although it is long distance, Kull said they do get to see each other on breaks and try to find time to meet up throughout the semester.
Keeping with tradition:
Dr. Macy Finck, professor of microeconomics and sports economics at Auburn, has a unique Valentine’s Day tradition with his wife Emily, and an endearing Auburn love story.
They started dating in January 2005 when they were both living in Auburn. Finck was working on his Ph.D. in economics at Auburn at the time. The couple’s first Valentine’s Day together was about a month after the two started dating, so they wanted to keep the night pretty low key.
“I’m too much of an economist to pay double for flowers or wait an hour for a table, so we had Taco Bell and Natural Light at her place,” Finck said.
The concept seemed like a suitable choice for the young couple, and by the time Valentine’s Day of 2006 rolled around, they were engaged.
The couple decided they wanted to celebrate their engagement and the beginning of their journey together, so they decided to go back to where it all began and have Taco Bell and Natty again. This became a special tradition for the two, and even now in 2020, Finck said they “will share Taco Bell and Natural Light for the 16th Valentine’s in a row.”
All the way from Capitol Hill
Three and a half years ago, in the midst of his graduate school studies at the University of Georgia, Ryan Williamson met his future girlfriend Shelby Hall. Both halves of the couple are now employed at Auburn — Williamson as an associate professor of political science, and Hall on the floor beneath him.
“The very first time I saw her, I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is a very charming, attractive woman, and I would like to talk to her’,” Williamson said.
The couple were friends for several years before Williamson worked up the courage to confess his feelings.
“She immediately caught my eye; it just took a little time to blossom from there,” he said.
In the days before Williamson was set to leave Athens, Georgia, for a job at The Hill in Washington D.C., he confessed his feelings to Hall.
“I told her, ‘I actually really like you,’ and she was like ‘how terribly inconvenient of you to confess that to me right before you move ten hours away, but the good news is, I very much like you, too.’”
Williamson and Hall dated long-distance for a year.
“We developed a routine where even though we were hours apart, we would find time to do stuff together, whether that just be chat or walk our dogs at the same time or watch the same show on Netflix,” Williamson said. “Anything to bridge that distance.”
Eventually the couple both received job offers from Auburn University. Williamson is a first generation college graduate. He said he appreciates how Hall understands his goals and the challenges of his job.
“It’s great to be in the same environment,” he said. “I’ve always felt uniquely myself with her as opposed to feeling like I need to put on a facade.”
Since moving to Auburn, there is less activity than in Washington D.C., but Williamson said he enjoys how comfortable they are with each other.
“Some days we are just sitting in silence enjoying each other’s company and our dogs,” Williamson said. “I don’t feel compelled to do or say anything beyond just appreciating that moment.”
For anyone in a similar position as he was in, Williamson emphasized the importance of having a lot of patience.
“Always be patient, with love, with yourself, with life in general,” he said. “Just because things aren’t going exactly as you planned them, doesn’t mean things aren’t going exactly how they should be.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman